Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A $9k Proposal

The cost of getting too creative: losing the ring.  Read about it here.


August 21, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Believing in Your Choice

From the Vancouver Sun:

Married Americans overwhelmingly believe they married the right person but not all of them believe in the idea of soul mates.

A Marist poll showed that 97 percent of men and 94 percent of women are convinced they found the one, a finding which surprised researchers because of the country's high divorce rate

Ninety seven percent of people in the Midwest and western regions of the country were confident they chose the right person, followed 96 percent in the south and 90 percent in the northeast.

One hundred percent of people aged 18 to 29 said they married the right person.

Although most people think they made the right choice, only 66 percent of those who are married said they believed in soul mates, the idea that two people are destined to be together.

Read more here.


August 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Family Law Changes in British Columbia

British Columbia may be seeing big changes in its family law soon.  Read about it here.


August 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Effect of New Studies on Gay Adoption Bans

From the New York Times blog on parenting, a call to end gay adoption bans:

Data drives policy. Or, at least, it should. In recent months there have been several studies suggesting that children raised by same-sex couples are certainly no worse off (and in some ways are arguably better off) than children raised by heterosexual couples.

Now, in an article titled “Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?” in the August issue of the journal Applied Developmental Science, researchers go one incremental but important step further. Rather than simply letting the research speak for itself, they conclude that their new findings should lead to the end of existing bans on adoption by same-sex couples in the United States.

At the moment, three states — Florida, Mississippi and Utah — explicitly prohibit gay couples from adopting, and a similar law is being challenged in the Arkansas courts. Twenty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia, on the other hand, explicitly permit such adoptions, and the remainder have imprecise language in their adoption statutes. The reason most often given by opponents of single-sex adoption is that children do best with a mother and a father.

Over the past year, a parade of studies have all set out to test that assumption. What makes this latest one different was that, for the first time, research on the social development and psychological health of children was not based on the opinions of their parents alone but also of outside observers (teachers and care givers.) And, also for the first time, a control group of heterosexual families was used. The University of Virginia and George Washington researchers studied preschoolers who were adopted at birth by 27 lesbian couples, 29 gay male couples and 50 heterosexual couples. (Yet another groundbreaking aspect to this study was the number of gay men who were included; to date most of the research has been on lesbian mothers.)

Read more here.


August 19, 2010 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Puberty Begins for Some Girls at Age 7

This may have some implications for families and family law.  Read more here.


August 19, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Paychecks and Adultery

A new study shows that men are far more likely to cheat on women who make more than they do.

Men who are completely economically dependent on their female partners are five times more likely to cheat than men in relationships with women who earned similar amounts, according to the the study's author, Christin Munsch, a sociology Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University.

Women making more money than men may threaten the male's traditional view of being the breadwinner, says Munsch.

But tipping the financial scales too far in the other direction doesn't make men more likely to be faithful.

A man who makes significantly more money than his girlfriend or wife is also more likely to cheat because the job or position he works may require long work hours and travel. Those factors could create an easier environment for cheating, the study suggests.

So what financial situation would make men more likely to be faithful?

Men in relationships with women who made about 75 percent of the men's income were the least likely to cheat, said the study, which was released at the American Sociological Association's 105th annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

The study, "The Effect of Relative Income Disparity on Infidelity for Men and Women," examined married and cohabitating people between the ages of 18 and 28, who were in the relationship for more than a year. The study uses data from the 2002 through 2007 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

Read more here.


August 18, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Setting Personalities

A study forthcoming in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests our personalities are set by 1st grade.  Read more here.


August 18, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wasserman: "DOMA and the Happy Family: A Lesson in Irony"

Rhonda Wasserman (University of Pittsburgh School of Law) has posted "DOMA and the Happy Family: A Lesson in Irony" (forthcoming California Western International Law Journal) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract.

In enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, Congress chose to protect heterosexual marriage because of its “deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing. Simply put, government has an interest in marriage because it has an interest in children.” Ironically, DOMA may harm, rather than protect, the interests of some children – i.e., the children of gay and lesbian couples.

Both state and federal law reflect the belief that children are better off being raised by two parents in an intact family. This belief is reflected in the marital presumption of paternity, which presumes that a married woman’s husband is the father of her child. Similarly, under federal constitutional law, marriage to a child’s mother is the most effective way for a man to preserve and develop a relationship with his child. Given the saliency of marriage in defining parental rights and given the law’s implicit recognition that children are better off living with two parents who not only love their children but love one other, it is deeply ironic that DOMA may reduce the likelihood that children’s relationships with their gay and lesbian parents will be recognized if the parents marry and rely on the marital presumption of parentage. For a law intended to protect marriage as a means of protecting children, this potential result is ironic indeed.


August 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stay Issued in Perry

A panel of 9th Circuit judges just ruled that same-sex couples cannot marry in California pending the appeal of Perry v. Schwarzenegger.  The court also expedited the briefing schedule, and directed the briefing to include a discussion of standing.  Read the order here.


August 17, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Smoking in Car Child Abuse?

The Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners in England has called smoking in a car with children child abuse.  He urged parents, mothers-to-be, the obese, smokers, and drinkers to turn into healthy role models for their children.  Read about it here.


August 17, 2010 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weaver: "Family and Race in Post-Obama America"

Jessica Dixon Weaver (SMU School of Law) has posted "Family and Race in Post-Obama America" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract.

Two years after the election of the first African-American President of the United States of America, a noticeable change is occurring. The dynamics at work that influence the family in America, particularly the minority family, are shifting. In a broad sense, the normative family, comprised of a man, his wife, and children has been rejuvenated by the presence of the Obamas in the White House. Moreover, the fact that this normative family is African-American has changed the lens with which America sees family structure, family history, and family identity. At the same time, President Barack Obama is representative of a new kind of family that the American court system has had to embrace over the last 45 years – a blended family, an interracial family, an extended family, a single-headed female-run family, and a fatherless family. This type of family is actually more of an American norm than the exception, and it is one of the reasons that President Obama’s story had such wide appeal to so many different people across the country. While this new family paradigm may have recently gained legal acceptance, it has been in place in the African-American community since the seventeenth century.

Race and the perception of race still play a large role in how Obama’s family and other African-American families are viewed. Though some argue that the U.S. has entered a post-racial era, most critical race theorists strongly assert that race still plays a critical part of social and political dynamics in America. Prominent sociologists assert that race impacts how, why, for how long, and even if families are formed in a legally normative manner. This article will explore how race has impacted recent historical and political changes in family law and social policy, and how these changes have altered family structure and identity in America. In addition, it will analyze whether these changes have impacted how various races view the family and if these various viewpoints make a difference in state and federal laws regulating families.


August 16, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dirty Road Rage

Note to parents: don’t smear your child’s dirty diaper on another’s windshield.

Read about it here.


August 16, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Divorce Insurance

From the NY Times online edition:

SafeGuard Guaranty Corp., an insurance start-up based in North Carolina, recently released what it’s billing as the first world’s first divorce insurance product. Here’s how its WedLock product works.

The casualty insurance is designed to provide financial assistance in the form of cash to cover the costs of a divorce, such as legal proceedings or setting up a new apartment or house. It is sold in “units of protection.” Each unit costs $15.99 per month and provides $1,250 in coverage. So, if you bought 10 units, your initial coverage would be $12,500 and you’d be paying $15.99 per month for each of those units. In addition, every year, the company adds $250 in coverage for each unit.

Then, if you get divorced and your policy has matured (see below for the maturation rules), you would send WedLock proof of your divorce. In return, you’d receive a lump sum of cash equivalent to the amount of coverage you had purchased.

So how does the company prevent people who know they are going to get a divorce from signing up? To prevent that kind of adverse selection, the policies don’t mature until 48 months after their effective date (though people can purchase additional riders to reduce that maturity period to 36 months and to get their premiums back if they happen to divorce before the policy matures).


August 15, 2010 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)